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Working a Democratic ConstitutionA History of the Indian Experience$
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Granville Austin

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195656107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195656107.001.0001

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The Punishment that Failed

The Punishment that Failed

(p.453) Chapter 21 The Punishment that Failed
Working a Democratic Constitution

Granville Austin

Oxford University Press

It was to be expected that a reckoning would be demanded for the imposition of the Emergency in June 1975 and its attendant events and excesses. The nation had been terrorized and tens of thousands of citizens imprisoned, including many of those who became members of the Janata government. Yet neither the Janata government nor the country agreed about the action to be taken. Prime Minister Desai said his government would not be vindictive, and he ruled out a ‘witch-hunt’. Law Minister Bhushan joined him in this restraint. Home Minister Charan Singh said the wrongs of the Emergency should neither be forgiven nor forgotten and justified a trial on the ‘Nuremberg model’. As it was, the image of vengeful ineptness from the failed prosecution and its stain on the government's claim to democratic functioning greatly hastened its downfall.

Keywords:   Janata Party, Moraji Desai, Shanti Bhushan, Charan Singh

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